You & Me. This & That: Pronouns in Chinese

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Personal Pronouns in Chinese 人称代词 (rén chēng dài cí)

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One of the first words you probably need to learn is ‘I’  (wǒ). Although in Chinese, you can often get away with missing off the 我 (wǒ) ‘I’ in spoken Chinese, it is important to use it within written Chinese.

The word for ‘you’ is  (nǐ) and can also be used in its formal version  (nín), which is used to show respect to elders or superiors.

Do you know that in spoken Chinese, the words for he she and it are all the same? In a conversation with someone, it’s easy to ask the other person for clarification, but what happens in written Chinese? Luckily, personal pronouns in the written language of Mandarin Chinese have different characters.

 (tā) – he

 (tā) – she

 (tā) – it

If you know a little about radicals in Chinese, you might know that usually, the meaning of the character is on the left, and the pronunciation is on the right side. Both the characters for he and she have the same radical to suggest the way it is spoken.

The left side of the character for he 他 (tā) has the person radical  (rén), suggesting male origins. The character for ‘she’ 她 (tā), has the female radical  (nǚ) to the left of it, which indicates it is female.

Plurals

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In order to pluralize personal pronouns in Chinese and create ‘we’, ‘us’ ‘they’ or ‘them’, you simply add  (men).

我们 (wǒ men) – us/we

你们 (nǐ men) – you (plural)

他们 (tā men) – they/them

她们 (tā men) – they/them

它们 (tā men) – they/them

他们去外面吃饭。(tā men qù wài mian chī fàn.) – They went out to eat.

Possessive  物主代词 (wù zhǔ dài cí)

Technically, the Chinese language does not have possessive pronouns, but it classed as a rule of the (de) particle.

To make a pronoun ‘possessive’, you add the 的 (de) particle. Although the 的 (de) particle has many uses, at the moment it is enough to know that it makes pronouns possessive.

我的 (wǒ de) – mine

你的/您的 (nǐ de/nín de) – yours

他的 (tā de) – his

她的 (tā de) – hers

If you want to say ‘my cup’, it would look like this:

我的杯子。(wǒ de bēi zi)

Me (s) cup.

In the case of alienable possession (if the object is close to the subject like a family member), the 的 (de) particle can be removed.

我妈。(wǒ mā) My mother.

Finally, to say ours, theirs or yours add the 的 (de) particle to the plural pronoun.

我们的 (wǒ men de) – ours

你们的 (nǐ men de) – yours

他们的 (tā men de) – theirs

她们的 (tā men de) – theirs

Reflexive Pronouns

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To refer to the ‘self’ in Chinese, we add the bigram 自己 (zì jǐ) to a personal pronoun:

我自己 (wǒ zì jǐ) – myself

你自己 (nǐ zì jǐ) – yourself

他自己 (tā zì jǐ) – himself

她自己 (tā zì jǐ) – herself

我们自己 (wǒ men zì jǐ) – ourselves

请用一句话介绍你自己。(qǐng yòng yī jù huà jiè shào nǐ zì jǐ.) Please introduce yourself in one sentence.

Interrogative Pronouns 疑问代词 (yí wèn dài cí)

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Interrogative pronouns are ‘question’ words that express an enquiry.

 (shéi) – Who

他是谁?(tā shì shéi) Who is he?

什么 (shén me) – What

这是什么? (zhè shì shén me) What is this?

哪个 (nǎ ge) – Which

这两个玩具,你喜欢哪一个?(zhè liǎng gè wán jù, nǐ xǐ huan nǎ yī gè)

Which of these two toys do you prefer?

为什么 (wèi shén me) – Why

这么晚了,为什么你还不回家?(zhè me wǎn le, wèi shén me nǐ hái bù huí jiā.)

It’s late. Why don’t you go home?

怎么 (zěn me) – How

这个问题怎么解决?(zhè ge wèn tí zěn me jiě jué)

How do we solve this problem?

什么时候 (shén me shí hou) – When

你什么时候来中国? (nǐ shén me shí hou lái zhōng guó.)

When will you come to China?

哪里 (nǎ lǐ) – Where

我忘记把钥匙放哪里了。(wǒ wàng jì bǎ yào shi fàng nǎ lǐ le)

I have forgotten where I put my keys.

 (jǐ) How much/How many

我们几点见面?(wǒ men jǐ diǎn jiàn miàn)

When shall we meet?

 (duō) – Many/Much

你花了多长时间写作业?(nǐ huā le duō cháng shí jiān xiě zuò yè.)

How much time did you spend on your homework?

Rules for Interrogative Pronouns

There are some rules regarding interrogative pronouns. Here are some examples of when to use these pronouns:

For people or things use: 谁 (shéi) – who, 什么  (shén me) – what, 哪 (nǎ) which

For place or location use: 哪儿 (nǎr) or 哪里 (nǎ lǐ)

For time use: 哪会儿 (nǎ huì er) or 多会儿 (duō huì er)

For status, actions, method or property use: 怎么 (zěn me) or 怎么样 (zěn me yàng)

For quantity use:  (duō), 多少 (duō shao) or  (jǐ).

Generally, the usage of 几 (jǐ), is almost the same as 多少 (duō shao), so they can replace each other. However, 多 (duō) can also be used to ask for levels or amounts such as 多长 (duō cháng) meaning ‘how long’ or 多大 (duō dà) meaning ‘how large’, whereas 几 (jǐ) can not be used in this way.

When interrogative pronouns are used in the way that relative pronouns are used in English, then there should be always be an adverb such as  (dōu) or  (yě). These characters are interchangeable as they have almost the same meaning. Sometimes they will be used with words such as 不管 (bù guǎn) or 无论 (wú lùn) to create emphasis.

If 都 (dōu) or 也 (yě) are removed from the sentences below, they no longer have the same meaning. The first example shows the sentence with 都 (dōu) or 也 (yě), the second shows it without.

谁也不知道他在哪儿了。(shéi yě bù zhī dao tā zài nǎr le) – No one knows where he is.

≠ 谁不知道他在哪儿。 Every knows where he is (don’t they?)

 

你什么都不懂。(nǐ  shén me dōu bù dǒng) – You know nothing.

≠ 你什么不懂。 You know everything (don’t you?)

不管怎么解释,他都不明白。(bù guǎn zěn me jiě shì, tā dōu bù míng bai.) – No matter how it has been explained, he is unable to understand.

Indefinite Pronouns

Since there are no clear cut way to translate English indefinite pronouns into their Chinese equivalents, the words we know in the English language such as ‘anything’ and ‘something’ etc are not indefinite pronouns in Chinese. In the English language, indefinite pronouns are words that include some-, any-, every- etc

Here are the some of the ways you can translate the English indefinite pronouns into Chinese:

任何事() / 任何东西 (rèn hé shì (qíng) / rèn hé dōng xi) – Anything

有些事() / 有些东西 (yǒu xiē shì (qíng) / yǒu xiē dōng xi) – Something

有人/某人 (yǒu rén/mǒu rén) – Someone

每(个)人/人人 (měi (gè) rén / rén rén – Everyone

任何人 (rèn hé rén) – Anyone

Demonstrative Pronouns 指示代词 (zhǐ shì dài cí)

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This and That

 (zhè) and  (nà) can be used as both demonstratives and specifiers. A demonstrative is used to ‘point out’ an item, so that it is not confused with another object. These two characters will be used as  (zhè) ‘this’ and   (nà) ‘that’.

这样 (zhè yàng) – like this/this way

这么 (zhè me) – this much

这会儿 (zhè huìr) – at this moment

那样 (nà yàng) – that kind

那么 (nà me) – like that

那会儿 (nà huìr) – never been seen

那是我的被子。(nà shi wǒ de bèi zi.) That is my quilt.

These and Those

This 这 (zhè) and that 那 (nà) can be turned into plurals by adding the character  (xiē), meaning ‘few’ or ‘several’. 这些 (zhè xiē) be used to say ‘these’ and 那些 (nà xiē) for ‘those’.

Here and There

这儿/这里 (zhèr / zhè lǐ) – Here

那儿/那里 (nàr / nà li) – There

There are several ways to pronounce here and there in Chinese. In the north of China, especially in Beijing, the first 这儿 (zhèr) and 那儿 (nàr) pronunciations are common. Whereas the 这里 (zhè lǐ) and 那里 (nà li) pronunciations are used in the south.

Sometimes 这儿 (zhèr) and 那儿 (nàr) are used at the beginning of a sentence as a subject and can be, but not necessarily followed by the preposition  (zài).

在这里有很多东西。(zài zhè lǐ yǒu hěn duō dōng xi.) There is a lot of stuff here.

If they are not the subject, then the 在 (zài) preposition must be used.

我在这里工作。(wǒ zài zhè lǐ gōng zuò) I work here.

Exercises

  1. How do you say ‘myself’ in Chinese?’
  2. The Chinese characters for this and that are 这 (zhè) and 那 (nà). Create mnumonics (a story or picture) to help you remember which one is which!
  3. Does the Chinese language have possessive pronouns? What is used to indicate a ‘possessive’ word?

If you’re interested in learning Chinese, welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  !  🙂

 

 

 

Personal pronouns in Chinese language – complete guide

Personal pronouns are the words that we use to substitute proper or common nouns. Such as I, you, she, he, his, her etc.

I strongly suggest you to get familiar with all personal pronouns in Chinese language before you dive deeper into mandarin Chinese lessons. First of all, personal pronouns will frequently appear in our dialog examples and reading practice in later lessons. Secondly, it’s must-to-have knowledge even for very basic conversations. Last, personal pronouns in Chinese language are very easy to grasp. Even simpler than those in English in my opinion.

You know what confuses Chinese students most when they start to learn English? – “Why there are so many variations in the usage of personal pronouns?!” To a Chinese student, “I” is “I”, no matter which position it appears in a sentence, it should stay as “I”! So now you understand there’s no change of forms for I, or you, or he, or she in a Chinese sentence at all. In fact, you only need to know 7 characters to be able to use ANY personal pronouns in Chinese language. They are:

 

men de

“我”needs 7 strokes to write it out. It’s not a very simple Chinese character, but is definitely among the highest frequency characters. Get a pen and paper now, and write the character on the paper for five times. You might not be able to remember how to write it tomorrow, but you have to be able to recognize it from now on (at least that’s my requirement for you to follow through the whole lesson series).

你, 他, 们, the three of them all have radical “亻” on their left hand side. “亻” implies “people related”. That doesn’t mean all people related characters have a “亻”. But there are a large amount of people related characters do. The right hand side part usually implies how the character sound. But not always either. We can give a name for this pattern so it’s easier for you to remember:

“meaning radical + sound part”

Among these three characters, only “们” perfectly fit into the “meaning radical + sound part” pattern:

“亻” (people related) + “门” [mén] (meaning: door)

As a matter of fact, there are big amount of Chinese characters follow the above rule. You will see more of them coming in the following lessons.

Now let’s get familiar with all the personal pronouns in Chinese language from the following tables:

Singularity: who

I you he
she it

 

Plurality: who + 们

we you they
我们 你们 他们

 

Possessive for singularity: who + 的

my your his
我的 你的 他的
her its
她的 它的

 

Possessive for Plurality: who + 们的

our your their
我们的 你们的 他们的

 

You might have noticed that “他” “她” and “它” all have exactly the same pronunciation. In Chinese, a few to a few tens of characters share the same pronunciation is quite common. That’s why in most cases you can’t tell Chinese people a single character and expect them to understand which character you’re referring to. You have to put the character in a word, or a sentence to make people understand exactly which character you’re talking about.

Please memorize the pronunciation and the look of all words. You’ll meet them frequently in the following lessons.

Welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  !  🙂

 

How to open your conversation with “Based on …”, “According to …” kind of patterns in Chinese

If you’ve followed our Learn Chinese online lesson series to this far, I believe you’ve known how to express your thoughts in a variety of ways in Chinese. Whether you are fluent in expressing them still depends on how large vocabulary you’ve grasped and how well you’ve progressed on your pronunciation. In my opinion, there’s no shorter path than practicing your language as much as you can.

The goal of this series of lessons is to help you build sentence patterns in your mind the “Chinese” way. With each sentence pattern you learned, you’re recommended to practice it with whatever you want to express. Try to simulate a conversation if you can’t find a real chance to chat in Chinese.

Keep your good work up, folks! OK, let’s get back on our topic today…

“Based on,”, “According to… “ … “As you know …” – these kinds of phrases are all quite often to be used to start a conversation, presentation, or a report, so on so force. We get into that today to learn how to start your conversation with these patterns.

Before anything else, let’s check out our new words first:

 jīyú  gēnjù  xūyào
基于 (based on) 根据(according to) 需要(needs)
zhèngrú  suǒ  jùshuō
正如 (just like) 所 (actually) 据说 (it is said that)
 mùqián  zhuàngkuàng  róngyì
目前 (current) 状况 (situation) 容易 (easy)
 yǒuhǎo
友好 (friendly)

 

Basically the following five phrases would fit your needs if you want to start your conversation from certain facts or known information. Let’s have a quick look at the Chinese translation of these phrases first:

“Based on …”  -> 基于 jī yú…

“According to …”  -> 根据 gēn jù …

“As we all know …”  -> 我们都知道 wǒmen dōu zhīdào …

“As you know …” -> 正如你所知 zhèngrú nǐ suǒzhī …

“It is said that …” -> 据说 jù shuō …

Then I’ll show you how to use them in the following examples. All of these five phrases can be used both in written and oral Chinese.

 

jīyú mùqián de zhuàngkuàng, huódòng bèi qǔxiāo le.

基于目前的状况活动被取消了.

Based on the current situation, the event has to be cancelled.

 

gēnjù nǐ suǒ shuō de, zhè běn shū bù shìhé wǒmen de xūyào.

根据你所说的这本书不适合我们的需要.

According to what you said, this book doesn’t fit our needs.

 

wǒmen dōu zhīdào, xuéxí Zhōngwén bùshì yī jiàn róngyì de shì.

我们都知道学习中文不是一件容易的事.

As we all know, learning Chinese is not an easy job.

 

zhèngrú nǐ suǒzhī, wǒ shì gè yǒuhǎo de rén.

正如你所知我是个友好的人.

As you know, I’m a friendly guy.

 

jùshuō jīntiān huì xiàyǔ.

据说今天会下雨.

It is said that it’s going to rain today.

 

Are you clear now? If so, please go ahead to reuse them in your conversation. Practice the patterns with words that you know to yourself or to your chat partner if you have one. The more you repeat them, the faster they’ll come to your mind next time you need them.

Welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  !  🙂

 

What Chinese words could you use to express “finally”, “at last”?

My Learn Mandarin lesson series do not only cover grammar points, but also high frequent vocabulary patterns. In this lesson, we’ll explore what Chinese words we can use to express words like “finally“, “eventually“, “at last“, “in the end” etc. Those are words that are quite often used to conclude a story or the description of an event. I find that it’s very hard not to use these words if you need to tell people what happened in the end.

If you don’t know how to express them in Chinese, you might have to leave your suspense in the air for your Chinese listener by not properly concluding your story, or, you might confuse people in the order of time.

Well, after reading this post, I hope you will be able to deliver your ending in a perfect way. 🙂

Now, let’s get started. Usually, “finally” can be equivalently replaced by “最终 zuìzhōng” or “最后 zuìhòu“. However, depends on your context, words like “结果 jiéguǒ“, “终于 zhōngyú” or “总算 zǒngsuàn” can also be used. Sometimes they are swappable, sometimes they are not. There are no simple rules you can go by to decide which one to use. It really helps if you can learn and memorize the examples I show you here and re-enforce them moving forward. Those are some common patterns that you can reuse.

First of all, let’s start with new words first.

zuìzhōng zuìhòu jiéguǒ
最终 (final; ultimate;) 最后 (final; last; finally; ultimate;) 结果 (to bear fruit; at last)
zhōngyú zǒngsuàn shìgù
终于 (in the end; eventually;) 总算(at long last; finally;) 事故 (accident)
chízǎo fāshēng nǔlì
迟早(sooner or later) 发生(to happen; to occur;) 努力(great effort; to try hard)
bìng zhì hěn jiǔ
病(illness) 治 (cure; treatment) 很久(very long duration)

 

mèimei zuìzhōng méiyǒu qù shàngxué.

妹妹最终没有去上学.

My sister didn’t go to school at last.

 

sān gè yuè hòu, wǒ zǒngsuàn zhǎo dàoliǎo gōngzuò.

三个月后, 我总算找到了工作.

After three months, I finally found a job.

 

zhèyàng dehuà shìgù chízǎo huì fāshēng.

这样的话事故迟早会发生.

If we let it be, accidents are bound to happen eventually (sooner or later).

 

tā hěn nǔlì, dàn zuìhòu háishi méiyǒu guò.

她很努力, 但最后还是没有过.

She worked very hard, however she didn’t pass in the end.

 

māma de bìng zhì le hěn jiǔ, jiéguǒ háishi méi zhìhǎo.

妈妈的病治了很久, 结果还是没治好.

Mom has been treated for her disease for a long time, however she wasn’t cured in the end.

 

After learning and practicing these words in the example sentences, please randomly pick any Chinese articles from the web or any Chinese reading materials you have to see whether you can find the keywords you learned in this post. See what patterns they are used in the article and whether you can make out the meaning on your own.

In brief, the more you read, practice and memorized, the easier you’ll feel about using them.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Feel free to leave your comment by using what you’ve learned today.

Welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  !  🙂

How to use “Once …” sentence pattern in Chinese

“Once he started, he can’t stop.”

Sometimes, you really need that particular sentence pattern to express your thoughts exactly the way you want.

Luckily for most of the sentence patterns in English, you can find their equivalent patterns in Chinese.

Today we’ll learn one. The exact counterpart of “Once …” pattern in Chinese is “ 一旦… … (yīdàn … jiù) “.

Let’s review new words first (very few).

yīdàn huì
一旦 (once) (rain)  (can, will)
tíng
(stop)

 

“ 一旦” comes from classic Chinese literature, it means “once”. “” means “then” in this sentence pattern. (Click here for more usages of “就”).

Now let’s translate the example at the very beginning of this lesson into Chinese:

yīdàn tā kāishǐ le, jiù bùhuì tíng le.

一旦他开始了就不会停了.

Once he started, he can’t stop.

 

You can add “他”at the beginning of the second sentence as well.

yīdàn tā kāishǐ le, tā jiù bùhuì tíng le.

一旦他开始了他就不会停了.

Once he started, he can’t stop.

 

Remember, in the second sentence, only “who” can be placed before “”. Anything else, including the verb has to follow “”.

However, sometimes, “” is not necessary, having it in the sentence or not doesn’t make any difference.

yīdàn tā zhīdàole, tā huì hěn gāoxìng de.

一旦她知道了她会很高兴的.

Once she knew, she will be very happy.

Are you clear now? If you’re not sure, let me give you a little quiz. Please use “一旦” sentence pattern to express the following sentence. Use the new word table to help you construct this sentence if you need:

Once it rained, it won’t stop.

 

… how well did you do? I’ll show the answer here …

yīdàn xiàyǔ, jiù bùhuì tíng.

一旦下雨就不会停.

Once she knows, she’ll be very happy.

Did you get it?

Now let me wish each one of you a beautiful summer week!

Welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  !  🙂

 

How to structure “however” and “but” sentence in Chinese

“However” and “but” in most cases can be directly translated into the following Chinese words.

however = 然而 rán’ér

but = 但是 dàn shì

Replacing “however” and “but” with the above words in your sentence should serve its purpose. Let’s move along then you’ll see how to structure this kind of sentences.

Please go through your new vocabulary drill first. 🙂

rán’ér dàn shì kě shì
[hanzi]然而[/hanzi] [hanzi]但是[/hanzi] [hanzi]可是[/hanzi]
however but but
bù guò xǐ huan jiàn
[hanzi]不过[/hanzi] [hanzi]喜欢[/hanzi] [hanzi][/hanzi]
but like quantifier
qún zi mǎi zhī chí
[hanzi]裙子[/hanzi] [hanzi][/hanzi] [hanzi]支持[/hanzi]
skirt  buy zhi chi
dú lì
[hanzi]独立[/hanzi]
independence

 

Done? Good, let’s learn them from examples:

I like this skirt, but I can’t buy it.

wǒ xǐhuan zhè jiàn qúnzi, dànshì wǒ bùnéng mǎi tā.

我喜欢这件裙子但是我不能买它.

 

They will support us. However, we should learn to be independent.

tāmen zhīchí wǒmen. rán’ér, wǒmen yīnggāi xuéhuì dúlì.

他们支持我们然而我们应该学会独立.

 

You’ll never need to reassemble the word order in the sentence due to adding “but” or “however” to your sentence. Just directly add 然而 rán’ér, or 但是 dàn shì to the beginning of the main sentence or the sub sentence. You can add a comma right after 然而 rán’ér or 但是 dàn shì to give a graceful break to your sentence. Or add them without comma.

Other than 然而 rán’ér or 但是 dàn shì可是 kě shì and 不过 can be used as the same meaning and in the same way. In fact, all four words are very similiar:

然而 rán’ér但是 dàn shì可是 kě shì不过 dàn shì

The only difference is “然而 rán’ér” is mostly used in writing, not speaking. The other three can be used both in writing and speaking.

Are you clear now? I don’t think it’ll be too difficult to come up some sentences to practice in this regards. So go ahead practice in your own way until the four words (at least two, OK?) can come to your lips easily whenever you need them.

Welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  !  🙂

How to count things in Chinese

HOW TO COUNT BASIC NUMBERS IN CHINESE?

 

If we need to talk about counting things in Chinese, then naturally we need to start with numbers in Chinese first. Please look at the table below to learn the basic 0 to 10 numbers in Chinese?

 

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
líng èr sān wǔ  liù bā  jiǔ  shí

 

You also need to learn the following new words before you move on. Let’s take a few moment to make friends with them:

bǎi qiān wàn
 (hundred)  (thousand)  (ten thousand)
běn shū
亿 (hundred million)  (quantifier)  (book)
píng guǒ shé tuǐ
苹果 (apple)   (snake)  (leg)
lǎo hǔ
 (chicken) 老虎 (tiger)  (quantifier)
tiáo zhǐ
(quantifier) (quantifier)

 

HOW TO COUNT NUMBERS GREATER THAN 10 IN CHINESE?

 

Numbers greater than ten is counted this way:

11, 12, 13 ……

shí·yī, shí’èr, shísān ……

十一,  十二,  十三 ……

 

When it reaches the next ten, write tens and the subsequent numbers as below:

20, 21, 22, 23 …….

èrshí, èrshí yī, èrshí èr, èrshí sān …..

二十,  二十一,  二十二,  二十三 …..

 

When it comes to hundred:

100, 101, 102 …

yī bǎi, yī bǎi líng yī, yī bǎi líng èr ……

一百,  一百零一,  一百零二 ……

 

When it reaches one thousand, it becomes:

1000, 1001, …… 1039 … 1341 …

yī qiān, yī qiān líng yī, …… yī qiān líng sānshí jiǔ …… yī qiān sān bǎi sì shí·yī ……

一千,  一千零一,  …… 一千零三十九 …… 一千三百四十一 ……

 

Whenever there’s one or more consecutive zeros in the middle of those digits, replace all zeros with “零” in Chinese.

 

If you move greater beyond thousand, then you’ll meet “万”:

10000 …… 10020……

yī wàn…… yī wàn líng èrshí……

一万…… 一万零二十……

 

If we keep going, you’ll see million and billion as well:

1 million = 1000,000

In Chinese, you say:

yī bǎiwàn

一百万

 

Then what about 1 billion?

1 billion = 1000,000,000

In Chinese, you say:

shíyì

十亿

 

Please be aware, “billion” is NOT equal to “亿”, it equals to “十亿”. This has been a common mistake for Chinese student when they learn English.

WHAT ARE CHINESE QUANTIFIERS?

 

Now you’ve got the concept of how to count in Chinese. However, you also need to know what is the right quantifier to use when you talk about things quantified. For example, to say “five books”, you can’t just say “五书”, you need to say 五本书 (wǔ běn shū)”. “本” is the quantifier you need to know. It’s normally used for “book like” things.

There are a bunch of quantifiers in Chinese that you need to learn, but I’ll focus on this topic in a separate lesson. In this lesson, you only need to remember the most frequently used quantifiers: “个” “条” and “只”.

“个” is used for most things that can be quantified, such as 九个人(jiǔ gèrén)”, “三个苹果 (sān gè píngguǒ)”……

 

“条” is used for things with long shape, such as 五条蛇 (wǔ tiáo shé)”, “两条腿 (liǎng tiáo tuǐ)”

 

“只” is mostly used for animals, such as 六只鸡 (liù zhǐ jī)”, “四只老虎 (sì zhǐ lǎohǔ)”

 

As a practice, try to type any random combination of the Chinese numbers you just learned into Google and search for Chinese articles that have numbers in it. See if you can figure out how much it is.

 

Welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  !  🙂

How to use 对… 来说 (as for…) sentence pattern in Chinese?

… 来说 duì tā láishuō sentence pattern is very useful when you need to describe feelings or opinions that are viewed from other’s perspective. Such as “as far as who is concerned…“, “as for …“, etc. It’ll be easier to explain it in an example:

 

duì tā láishuō, zhè fèn gōngzuò tài kūzào。

对他来说,这份工作太枯燥。

As for him, the job is too boring.

 

Got it? OK then, let’s have a quick review on the four new words first before we move on:

Simplified Chinese Traditional Chinese Mandarin Pinyin English Definition
枯燥 ku1 zao4 dry and dull; boring
残疾 殘疾 can2 ji2 disabled; handicapped
国家 國家 guo2 jia1 country
天堂 tian1 tang2 paradise; heaven

 

This sentence pattern is quite strict forward, just replace the “who” in the following pattern, then you can start your sentence with “As for …” or “As far as who is concerned…”.

 

对 + who + 来说, ……

 

Yes, comma is a must!

Let’s look at one more examples:

 

duì cánjírén láishuō, zhège guójiā jiùshì tiāntáng。

对残疾人来说, 这个国家就是天堂。

As for people that are disabled, this country is like a heaven.

 

Is that clear now? If yes, then please proceed to the following practice for today. Please use the sentence pattern you just learned to express the following two sentences. Feel free to leave your homework in the comment area, thanks!

Practice 1.   As for children, family is very important.

Practice 2.   As for university students, university is not simply a school.

 

Welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  !  🙂

 

Answer 1. 对孩子来说, 家庭很重要.

Answer 2. 对大学生来说, 大学不仅仅是个学校.

 

How to use the word “非常“ in Chinese

In this Learn Chinese lesson, we’ll focus on the sentence pattern that is using word “非常 fēicháng ”. Simply put, “非常 fēicháng ” = “very”.

However, the way it is used in Chinese is a bit tricky if you’re trying to duplicate the way “very” is used in English.

When I first started to learn English, I used to say “Very than you!” without feeling odd about the way I used “very”. My Chinese classmates inclined to make the same mistake as I did. Do you know why?

The reason behind this is due to the usage of “very” in Chinese is somewhat different:

You can use “非常” not only before adjectives, but also verbs!

Before we move on, let’s check out a few new words first:

Simplified Chinese Traditional Chinese Mandarin Pinyin English Definition
非常 非常 fei1 chang2 extreme; very;
感谢 感謝 gan3 xie4 (express) thanks; gratitude; thanks;
抱歉 抱歉 bao4 qian4 to be sorry; to feel apologetic; sorry!;
想念 想念 xiang3 nian4 to miss; to remember with longing;
讨厌 討厭 tao3 yan4 to dislike; to loathe;
特别 特別 te4 bie2 especially; particular;
相当 相當 xiang1 dang1 fairly; quite;
家乡 家鄉 jia1 xiang1 hometown

 

 

When you’re done with new words, let’s move on …

To use 非常 fēicháng before adjectives is just the same as “very” being used in English:

非常 + adjective = very + adjective

To use it before verbs is the focus of today’s lesson.

We can say “Thank you very much!” in Chinese like this:

非常感谢!   fēi cháng gǎn xiè!

感谢 gǎn xiè” has the same meaning as “谢谢 xiè xie”, but sounds more formal. However, if you want to use “非常” to emphasize your gratitude, you have to use “感谢 gǎn xiè” together with “非常  fēi cháng”, instead of “谢谢  xiè xie”. Using “非常感谢  fēi cháng gǎn xiè” in both oral or written circumstances are both OK.

Similar usage of “非常  fēi cháng” can be applied to “I’m so sorry.”

Use “非常抱歉 fēicháng bàoqiàn” or “非常对不起 fēicháng duìbuqǐ” . “抱歉 bàoqiàn” and “对不起 duìbuqǐ” both mean “apologize for …”.

There are some other verbs that can be used after “非常  fēi cháng” as well, such as :

非常看不起 fēicháng kànbuqǐ -> rather look down upon (somebody / something)
非常想念 fēicháng xiǎngniàn -> miss (somebody / something) very much
非常喜欢 fēicháng xǐhuan -> like (somebody / something) very much
非常讨厌 fēicháng tǎoyàn -> dislike (somebody / something) very much
etc.

But still, there are a lot more verbs can not be used this way. The rule to know whether the verb can be used after “非常” actually is quite straightforward:

As long as the verb can be used this way in English:

“verb + very much”
or “verb + a lot”

Then, that verb can be used after “非常  fēi cháng” in Chinese.

For example,

He hates his job very much.

他非常讨厌这份工作.

(tā fēicháng tǎoyàn zhè fèn gōngzuò.)

The alternatives of “非常” are:

 hěn, 特别 tèbié, 相当 xiāngdāng

 

You can use the above “very” words to do some practice until you can create your own sentences utilizing those words. The following is an example of ways to practice them. You’ll see four different ways of saying “Sister misses hometown very much.”

jiějie fēicháng xiǎngniàn jiāxiāng.

姐姐非常想念家乡.

 

jiějie hěnxiǎng niàn jiāxiāng.

姐姐很想念家乡.

 

jiějie tèbié xiǎngniàn jiāxiāng.

姐姐特别想念家乡.

 

jiějie xiāngdāng xiǎngniàn jiāxiāng.

姐姐相当想念家乡.

 

Is it clear to you now? Welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  !  🙂

How to say “Although …” sentence pattern in Chinese

Some Chinese sentence patterns are straightforward translation of the equivalent counterpart in English. There are not many variations for this kind of translation. Once you learned it once, you can use it in any context.

Today we’ll learn one sentence pattern of this kind in this Learn Chinese online lesson. Before we get into the core content, let’s have a quick review of the new words that you need to know first:

 jǐn guǎn  réng rán  hái shi
[hanzi]尽管[/hanzi] (although) [hanzi]仍然[/hanzi] (still) [hanzi]还是[/hanzi] (still)
 bù huì mǎi bàofēngyǔ
[hanzi]不会[/hanzi] (won’t) [hanzi]买[/hanzi] (buy) [hanzi]暴风雨[/hanzi] (storm)
 yǐ jīng shī bài
[hanzi]已经[/hanzi] (already) [hanzi]失败[/hanzi] (fail) [hanzi]次[/hanzi] (times)
 kē xué jiā  jiān chí  shí yàn
[hanzi]科学家[/hanzi] (scientist) [hanzi]坚持[/hanzi] (insist) [hanzi]实验[/hanzi] (experiment)
 zhēn shí  gǎn jué  gào su
[hanzi]真实[/hanzi] (real, true) [hanzi]感觉[/hanzi] (feelings) [hanzi]告诉[/hanzi] (tell)

 

Done? OK, let’s move on. The following example sentence is a typical “although” pattern in English:

“Although she likes the book, she won’t buy it.”

To translate it into Chinese, the first thing that we need to find out is the equivalent Chinese word for keyword “although”. Luckily there is a word with exactly the same meaning in Chinese:

尽管 jǐnguǎn

Normally, “尽管” will be working with “仍然 réng rán” or “还是 hái shi” to form the complete although pattern sentence. “仍然” or “还是” means “still” when they are used individually. This is a big difference between English and Chinese. In English, you usually don’t need any other words to help “although” to express the twist. But in Chinese, you usually do need another word to help “尽管” to complete the twist. “尽管” can also be used together with “ yě” in this kind of sentence. However, sometimes, “尽管” can also be used on its own.

Now let’s translate the example sentence into Chinese using the word combinations we just mentioned above:

jǐnguǎn tā xǐhuan zhè běn shū, tā háishi bùhuì mǎi de.

尽管她喜欢这本书她还是不会买的.

 

jǐnguǎn tā xǐhuan zhè běn shū, tā réngrán bùhuì mǎi de.

尽管她喜欢这本书她仍然不会买的.

Or simply take “还是” or “仍然” out. In this sentence, it still works!

jǐnguǎn tā xǐhuan zhè běn shū, tā bùhuì mǎi.

尽管她喜欢这本书她不会买.

 

Please pay attention to which position “还是” and “仍然” was placed in the sentence. It has to be before verb and after “who”:

 + 还是 + 不会买的

 

Let’s practice a bit more:

jǐnguǎn míngtiān yǒu bàofēngyǔ, bàba háishi yào qù shàngbān.

尽管明天有暴风雨爸爸还是要去上班.

Although it’s going to have storm tomorrow, Dad will still go to work.

 

jǐnguǎn yǐjīng shībài le hěn duōcì, kēxuéjiā réngrán zài jiānchí zuò shíyàn.

尽管已经失败了很多次科学家仍然在坚持做实验.

Although he has failed for so many times, the scientist still persists on doing his tests.

 

jǐnguǎn tā ài tā, tā háishi méiyǒu bǎ zìjǐ de zhēnshí gǎnjué gàosu tā.

尽管他爱她他还是没有把自己的真实感觉告诉她.

Although he loves her, he just can’t tell her his true feelings.

Is it clear to you now? Welcome to have my face to face lesson on http://www.verbling.com/teachers/dawei  ! 🙂